US troops may stay in Iraq beyond withdrawal date
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has stated American forces might still be able to stay in his country as trainers beyond a 2011 withdrawal date. The Iraqi leader told Reuters American soldiers could be attached to the existing U.S. embassy training mission, or join a broader NATO training group, rather than seek a bilateral deal requiring U.S. immunity that would fail to pass Iraq's parliament.
"Since the need for training exists and all the political blocs acknowledge that, we have a number of choices. Now there is a dialogue between us and the Americans," Maliki told the news agency.
"We are heading toward securing trainers and experts for the American weapons we purchased, but without immunity and without going to parliament."
"You could say withdrawal and immunity might be seen negatively, but we and the Americans understand this positively, we understand our two countries cooperate closely," Maliki said.